"when we appear before Him, we really will be like Him"
From the day a couple first discusses having children or discovers that a baby is on the way, they start bonding with the baby, and developing their desire and hope for the baby. They begin to plan and map out his life, because they believe he is their responsibility. They are right. From the beginning of time, a child has been the parents’ responsibility. They celebrate the genetic heritage that passes forward in the family DNA and try to anticipate the way some of their own physical features will be expressed in the baby. They want the baby to be healthy and intelligent. I doubt that there has ever been a parent who wanted anything less for a child.
Similarly, God our Father has plans for His children; plans that are attainable if we team up with Him. He made it very clear that His plans are for our well-being (See Jeremiah 29:11). Unlike human parents, God doesn't only have plans, but He also knows how to make them happen. Human parents have no guarantees that their hopes for their children will materialize, but God does.
All that God wants for His children is summed up in one plan—that we will be conformed to the likeness of His Son, Jesus (See Romans 8:29). That plan really is for us to be holy, because He is holy (See 1Peter 1:15-16). God is not just wishing and hoping for the best for us. Neither is He waiting to see how things unfold. Instead, He takes an active role in the process to bring about our sanctification, by fully equipping us to that end. Peter reassures us that we are not left on our own to figure out life, but that, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV84). We need an increasing knowledge of God’s will, which will allow us to live lives that please Him. That was Paul’s prayer for the Church at Colosse (See Colossians 1:9-10).
Paul the apostle, admonished the young preacher Timothy, regarding what he should teach the flock under his care—godly living—by saying, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2:19 NIV84). We should not continue to live in sin after we have the knowledge of the will of God. If we know the will of God, but choose to do otherwise, James says it’s like forgetting how we look immediately after we turn away from a mirror (See James 1:22-24). As we obey the will of God, we are being sanctified; we gradually become more and more like Jesus, just the way God has intended for us.
So how do we attain this increasing knowledge of His will? It is through studying the Bible, the Word, which is God’s manual for daily living. Everything we need to know in this endeavor is written down for us in the Word. The Bible is complete. It addresses every aspect of our lives. It has the answers to all the questions we’ll ever have about godly living in this life. In addition, God has placed us in His family, the Church, where we can care for and support one another. Sharing our experiences helps each of us grow. God has given us gifts with which we serve each other and attain His desire for us. What is His desire for us? To become like Jesus Christ!
The climax of God’s desire for us will be amazing, because when we appear before Him, we really will be like Him. As the apostle Paul wrote, “So shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:49NIV84). Amen!